The Acorn

A Newsletter for CSB/SJU Cooperating Teachers

Volume 2, issue 5 * October 16, 2019

Growing, Nurturing, Developing, and Supporting

"The Acorn" is a newsletter for the cooperating teachers working with student teachers from the College of St. Benedict and St. John's University. This publication is intended to help our cooperating teachers understand their roles and responsibilities as well as provide them with current research and best practice on working with student teachers.

Listen up—Professional Development on the Road

In my conversations with educational professionals, the theme of time often emerges. Teachers are busy people! Prep times seem to fly by quickly, before and after school times can be crazy, and any other snippets of time we have during the day don’t usually allow us to take a breather. We simply don’t have enough time! So, when it comes to preparing for a student teacher or grabbing some professional development, our resources of time are really limited.

Because I commute to work, I spend a lot of time in my car. While I enjoy the time to get my mindset for the day and then unwind on the evening drive home, there is a lot of “down” time that I have felt could easily be wasted. So, to fill my head, heart, and soul, I spend much of my commuting time listening to podcasts. Thanks to platforms like Spotify, iHeart Radio, and iTunes, I am able to stay on top of topics of interest to me: education, motivation, faith, parenting, history…

Rather than give you something to read for professional development in this issue, I’m sharing my educational podcast playlist. The titles of each podcast, a link to the online background, and a brief ditty about each are included.


TED Radio Hour

A journey through fascinating ideas, astonishing inventions, and new ways to think and create. Based on riveting TEDTalks from the world's most remarkable minds.

The Cult of Pedagogy Podcast

Jennifer Gonzalez writes, "Teaching strategies, classroom management, education reform, educational technology--if it has something to do with teaching, we’re talking about it. On the podcast, I interview educators, students, administrators and parents about the psychological and social dynamics of school, trade secrets, and other juicy things you’ll never learn in a textbook. Other episodes feature me on my own, offering advice on ways to make your teaching more effective and more fun."

The Credible Teacher

Mike Huebner documents his experiences as a teacher to discover what it means to be a teacher. He includes timely topics, wisdom learned and shared, and research-based conversations in his 30ish-minute episodes.

The Fired Up Teacher's Podcast

Dr. Kia discusses what's new in education, shares research-based strategies for teaching, and draws on material designed to get teachers back to what they love most--teaching. Dr. Kia is direct and passionate. She pushes us toward greater purpose.

The Teacher Recharge Podcast

Fred Koepp states that this podcast is the "only podcast made specifically for teachers looking to energize their week with strategies, inspiration, and comedy!" Koepp brings in guests from various walks of life to build the conversation. An enjoyable listen.

Teachers Need Teachers

Kim Lepre notes that her goals are: to help you feel better about teaching; to make teaching just a little bit easier; to help you navigate through these crazy first years so that you can maintain your sanity and personal life. She adds, "I know the questions you should be asking but didn’t know to ask. AND, I can help you figure out the answers that align with YOUR teaching style and personality."

The Mindset Mentor

Rob Dial is a motivational speaker, author, and coach whose purpose in these podcasts is to "inspire and motivate...listeners to become the best version of themselves and live a life of passion and purpose."

Angela Watson's Truth for Teachers

Short episodes speak "life, encouragement, and truth into the minds and hearts of educators."

The Savvy Psychologist's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Mentorship

Jade Wu leads us to "meet life's challenges with evidence-based research, a sympathetic ear, and zero help you be happier, healthier, and most importantly, yourself."

The Productivityist Podcast

Hosted by productivity strategist Mike Vardy, The Productivityist Podcast is a weekly show that discusses tips, tools, tactics, and tricks that are designed to help you take your productivity, time management, goals, to do lists, habits, and workflow to new heights - both at work and at home.

Healthy Teacher Happy Teacher

Jessica Martin dedicates her podcast to helping teachers feel better from the inside out.

20 Tech Minutes for Teachers

The Tierney brothers and their techy friends talk about their favorite tools, ways to implement them in the classroom, and benefits of using the tools with students.

Teaching Matters

This NPR-based podcast is an audio series exploring the unique needs of students.

TEDTalks Education

All episodes around teaching and learning.

What to Do During Weeks 8 & 9

Remember that helpful information can be found in our handbooks: cooperating teacher handbook and student teaching handbook

For cooperating teachers with students in 12- or 16-week placements:

Weeks 8 and 9—

*If you haven’t already, complete the mid-placement evaluation and discuss with the student teacher

*Allow the student teacher to teach 80% of the time (more if there is mutual agreement)

*Assist student teacher in addressing areas needing improvement with continued informal observations and feedback

*Conduct a formal observation by the end of week 10 (this should be the third formal evaluation)

Here are the forms:

Cooperating Teacher’s Mid-Placement Evaluation of Student Teacher (2019-2020)

This evaluation should be done at the mid-point of each placement. A copy of this will be sent to the cooperating teacher, student teacher, and university electronically.

Student Teaching Evaluation (by Cooperating Teacher)

This observation/evaluation form should be used to complete observations throughout the placement. A minimum of three formal observations of the student teacher is required. The entire form does not need to be completed for each observation; however, by the end of the placement, each part should be addressed.

For cooperating teachers with students in their final week of an 8-week placement:
Week 8—

*Have the student teacher teach half time and observe either you or colleagues the other half

*Participate in the final meeting

*Write a letter of recommendation or reference for your student teacher (email a copy to and the student teacher)

*Complete the following forms:

Student Teacher’s Dispositional Evaluation (for CT/US)

This form should be completed at the end of the placement. Our program assesses student dispositions that we believe are essential to becoming a professional educator. The comments on this form should be part of the final evaluation conference.

Student Teaching Final Evaluation (by Cooperating Teacher)

This form is the culminating evaluation of the student teacher’s work. Our program uses this document for final assessment of the student and for program improvement. Please complete the entirety of the form.

Evaluation of University Supervisor

This form provides feedback regarding your relationship with and cooperation from the university supervisor. Please complete this at the end of the placement.

For cooperating teachers with students beginning their second 8-week placement:

Week 9—

*Help the student teacher get to know your students, the teachers, and the school

*Review the Orientation Guidelines/Checklist with cooperating teacher (see Appendix G in the handbook)

*Assist the student teacher in setting up observations--one of the cooperating teacher and another of a colleague

*Allow the student teacher to assist with planning, preparation of lessons and materials, monitoring of individual and group work.

*Determine which classes the student teacher will lead building to teaching one less than the teacher’s full load.

*Allow the student teacher to teach a lesson you have co-planned. Observe this lesson and provide feedback to the student teacher (See pages 28-29 in the handbook)

*Complete the following forms:

Cooperating Teacher's Information

This document is used to track our placement of student teachers and to obtain additional contact information on the cooperating teacher.

Please continue to visit with the student teacher about how they are doing, what plans you have, how they can contribute, and deliver any feedback you have about the day. It is best to be transparent, upfront, and clear! Student teachers appreciate honestly knowing how they are doing. It helps calm their nerves and assists in building communication.

Microaggressions in the Classroom

I recently listened to Mike Huebner’s podcast The Credible Teacher, and he was discussing the concept of microaggressions in the classroom. Huebner has been reading Zaretta Hammond’s Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain and was struck by the many ways our implicit bias emerges in our work with students, peers, and parents. In his podcast, Huebner shares how our negativity bias (the brain’s natural tendency to give much more attention to negative experiences than positive ones) codes our thinking and shapes our mindset as well as the mindsets of our students. We often see and focus on the negative rather than the positive, especially when we have been conditioned to be reactionary. Our reactionary nature is especially triggered when we are faced with microaggressions.

According to psychologist Derald Wing Sue, there are three primary kinds of microagressions: microassaults, microinsults, and microinvalidations.

Microassaults – explicit, purposeful discriminatory actions, verbal or nonverbal

Microinsults – rude, insensitive, and demeaning communication against an individual’s heritage or identity; subtle snubs (actions that the perpetrator does not have awareness of)

Microinvalidations –communication that diminishes, nullifies, excludes, or negates the thoughts, feelings, or experiences of another person belonging to a particular group (Sue, 2010).

As I reflect on myself as a teacher, I fear there have been incidents when I have been guilty of inadvertent microaggressions. As a person, I know I have been the victim of the microaggressions of others, and I am hyperaware of the impact these had on my life as a student (negativity bias definitely at work). The impact of microaggressions on academic mindset (see figure below) can be devastating if a child is constantly bombarded with messages of inadequacy. As teachers, we have a responsibility to build the academic mindset of our students and to address microaggressions when they are present.

How do we begin to address this in our classrooms and schools?

*We recognize and admit our own biases

*We remember that every individual deserves to be treated with kindness and respect

*We establish ground rules for how we interact with one another verbally and nonverbally

*We seek out resources to help us better understand the impacts of these topics

For more information, check out:

Finley, Todd. “A Look at Implicit Bias and Microaggressions.” Edutopia, George Lucas Educational Foundation, 25 Mar. 2019,

Sue, Derald Wing. “Microaggressions: More Than Just Race.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 17 Nov. 2010,

Components of an Academic Mindset

Big picture

CSB/SJU Education Department

Jennifer L. Meagher, Ed.D.

Director of Elementary and Secondary Student Teaching